Opposition urges Sara Duterte to resign for ‘meddling’ | Inquirer News

Opposition urges Sara Duterte to resign for ‘meddling’

/ 05:46 AM December 08, 2023

VicePresident Sara Duterte  resign meddling

Vice President Sara Duterte —Photo from Inday Sara Duterte/Facebook

Leading opposition figures have joined the calls for Vice President Sara Duterte to resign from President Marcos’ Cabinet if she plans on continuing to get involved in affairs that were beyond the mandates of her office.

Among them were former Sen. Leila de Lima and former Office of the Vice President spokesperson and lawyer Barry Gutierrez, who criticized Duterte for “meddling” into issues that were beyond her responsibilities as education secretary. These include the ongoing debate on whether the Philippine government should cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as President Marcos’ decision to reach out again to the Communist rebels to revive the peace talks that stalled under her father and former President Rodrigo Duterte.


In the ICC’s case, Duterte had urged Congress against considering pending resolutions calling for cooperation in the ongoing ICC investigation into the drug war. She and her father are believed to be among those who could eventually face charges for their alleged role in extrajudicial killings committed by the so-called “Davao Death Squad” during their time as mayor and vice mayor of Davao City from 2011 to 2016.


‘Troubling patterns’

As for the peace talks, Duterte personally appealed to Mr. Marcos not to enter into “an agreement with the devil” and to use his executive powers to review and reconsider the Oslo Joint Statement signed by the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Gutierrez also flagged Duterte’s habit of cozying up to China, such as sending a congratulatory video message wishing for stronger Manila-Beijing bilateral relations during its National Day last Oct. 1.

“These are all troubling patterns,” he said. “It’s normal for politicians to give their own two cents into issues, but the extent of Vice President Duterte’s involvement in issues outside her primary function raises questions about her focus and priorities as Secretary of Education.”

Duterte’s supposed lack of focus came into sharp contrast after the latest Programme for International Student Assessment report showed that Filipino students were still among the lowest scorers in the world in terms of reading, mathematics, and science skills.

The same study, published on Tuesday covering 690,000 students from 81 countries, also showed that the Philippines’ performance in the three subjects “were about the same” as in 2018, when it first took part in the assessment.

These results, Gutierrez said, compounded the “overlapping crisis besetting the education sector in the country, from the lack of teachers, infrastructure and learning materials up to the effectivity of the public school curriculum.”



“If Vice President Duterte finds the demands of the Secretary of Education overwhelming or incompatible with her interests and skills, it might be prudent for her to consider stepping down from this role,” he said.

Echoed De Lima: “Maybe she is voicing contrary policy statements because she thinks it’s her role as vice president. As vice president, she can do that—but she must not forget that she is still a Cabinet secretary bound to alter ego principle.”

“If she wants to keep voicing contrary policy positions to the Cabinet, she should be shorn of her alter ego role first. She cannot eat her cake and keep it, too,” De Lima said.

This was the case, for example, for former Vice President Leni Robredo, who was named housing czar by then President Duterte and was then asked to stop attending Cabinet meetings.

She then resigned from her post on Dec. 5, 2016, hinting that her unceremonious exit had more to do with a “plot to steal the Vice Presidency” than her opposition to several issues, such as the drug war and the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

De Lima, however, criticized Duterte for acting like “she is a president-in-waiting or worse, a copresident entitled to oppose the President in his own Cabinet.”

“She cannot do that. As a matter of principle, no Cabinet minister in the world can do that without being challenged by the Cabinet to stop singing a divergent tune. If you are out of tune, you must leave the choir,” she said.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

READ: Sara Duterte exits ruling party; Arroyo denies House ‘coup’

TAGS: meddling, resign, Sara Duterte

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.